By Julien Pretot
ARENBERG PORTE DU HAINAUT France (Reuters) - Chris Froome's attempt to win a second successive Tour de France ended in bitter disappointment after less than a week of the race on Wednesday when he crashed out on stage five.
On a miserable, rain-sodden day in northern France, the Briton appeared in great pain after falling for the second time, some 70 kilometres from the finish.
The Team Sky rider stood holding the wrist he injured in another spill on Tuesday, and was limping heavily as he eventually climbed into a team vehicle after chatting to one of his support crew and shaking his head.
Earlier in the stage, a 152.5-km ride from Ypres, Belgium, Froome suffered his second crash in two days.
Froome hurt his wrist and suffered bruises to his left side in a fall on stage four but was cleared to start Wednesday's stage which features several treacherous cobbled sectors.
The earlier fall on Wednesday was not to bad and he was helped back into the main bunch by his Sky team mates, but the second crash proved one too many.
His build-up to the raced was hardly ideal after a heavy crash last month on the Criterium du Dauphine.
Organisers announced before the start that two of the nine cobbled sectors had been removed from the stage because of the bad weather conditions.
Several other riders, including triple stage winner Marcel Kittel of Germany also hit the floor.
The Tour is now likely to turn into a duel between Italian Vincenzo Nibali, the yellow jersey holder, and former double champion Alberto Contador of Spain.
(Editing by Martyn Herman)